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Pleasure Rites

Ines Johnson

Those Johnson Girls

Copyright © 2015, Ines Johnson. All rights reserved.

This book was previously published as

“The Pleasure Hound.”

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the author.

Manufactured in the United States of America

For Lynn Marie, my first storyteller

...and because after you passed, I found that box under your bed!


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Carnal Rites SNEAK PEEK!

About Ines Johnson


Chanyn's heart pounded rapid fire, like the percussion of a woodpecker's beak, as she glanced up at what opportunity brought to her door. Two men stalked into her home.

In all her twenty years, she'd never seen a man in the flesh. The unexpected guests could be her salvation. Or they could cause her serious harm. Crouched behind a shelf, Chanyn watched the two figures thumb through her belongings.

Just an hour ago, the sound of their conveyance startled her from her work in the garden. Their solar car glided over the city limits and parked on her street. Diesel cars and trucks littered the decayed streets of the city, but none of the centuries old relics were remotely operational. It marked the third time a solar car skirted the edges of the city. The first occurrence happened when she was seven years old, the second, shortly after her fourteenth birthday. Each time, the protective windows of the conveyances had been up, and Chanyn, too far away to see in any case, couldn't glimpse the occupants inside. Neither of those two cars ventured into the deserted city. Why would they? No one would want to try to survive in these ruins.

The two men had opened the doors and disembarked from the vehicle. From the rooftops of the city, Chanyn tracked the men. To her utter surprise, they wandered around for a quarter of an hour before making purposeful progress towards her home.

Trying the door and finding it locked, one male climbed in through a window. A moment later, he let the second one in through the door.

Chanyn climbed down from the roof and let herself into her now occupied home. There had never been more than two people inside her home in all her life, and never any males.

Her mind told her she should be afraid. Men, her mother taught her, were dangerous creatures. But Chanyn's jammering heartbeat slowed as she watched the two males skim through the pages of her mother's beloved texts.

The first one, the window prowler, stood taller and broader than his partner, his skin the deep brown of the fertile earth. His broad shoulders strained the cotton shirt that clung to his back. Chanyn saw each movement of his muscled bicep as he pinched the pages, and then long, capable fingers followed each piece of parchment down as he perused the words. The oddly sensual movement awakened something deep inside Chanyn. The man's eyes, the cloudless blue of the sky, kept looking up and peering around. They had narrowed on a spot near Chanyn's hiding place, twice now; looking directly at the shelf behind which she'd concealed herself.

Certain he could sense her presence, Chanyn held her breath. But each time she thought she'd been caught, his attention was drawn back to the book in his hand.

"This is a waste of time, Khi."

Chanyn's attention switched to the other man. Her breath caught and she shoved her fist into her mouth to quiet herself.

"We're not going to find anything in here," the second man continued.

His voice was what Chanyn imagined music sounded like. The tone reverberated through her body and left her senses humming. But it was his face that made her heartbeat speed up to a woodpecker's tempo once more. He was golden. Just like the man on the covers of her romance novels. A golden mane of hair radiated from his head, like the rays of the sun. His eyes were light, like his companion's, but not blue. From this distance, Chanyn couldn't quite tell which color. Maybe green? Maybe golden? Whatever their color, Chanyn clearly saw the sadness in them. It mirrored the downcast lines of his lips.

To be sure, the man wasn't frowning; his face seemed incapable of the scowl required for the expression. Chanyn was an expert on the frown. It was the only expression her mother wore. It came in a myriad of minor quirks of the lips.

There was the Chanyn-I-can't-believe-you-don't-understand-this-simple-concept frown.

Or the Chanyn-please-calm-your-excitement-over-the-colors-in-a-flower frown.

"I'm not giving up," said the other man, Khi. "I'm never going to give up, Dain."

Khi turned from Dain and grabbed another book off the shelf.

That's when Chanyn noticed that the men stood in the reference section of her home. Specifically the medical reference section. All these tomes contained information of chemical and procedural remedies from the twenty-first century. Ancient prescriptions no longer used, all these centuries after The Great Destruction. The section was small. Only a select few titles had been copied from the brittle, wood-based paper of the twentieth century onto the durable, alkaline-based materials that could last for centuries.

Dain walked over to Khi. Chanyn could see that Dain, who still would easily tower over her, was perhaps an inch shorter than Khi, and a degree less broad. Dain's hand came to rest on Khi's shoulder, another hand on Khi's hip. It brought to Chanyn's mind the dance called the waltz. In the novels she read, of times long past, men would dance with women at arm's length, and twirl them around the room in circles. This is how the two men looked, but in reverse as they were front to back.

Dain leaned in to speak quietly to Khi. Khi wore a determined scowl on his face

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